The Great Southeast Shakeout hits SC

Hundreds of thousands of South Carolina students participated in the largest safety drill ever held Thursday morning.

COLUMBIA (WACH) - We've come a long way from the famous "duck and cover" government video from the 1950s, however, government agencies are still trying to protect the public.

That tradition carried on Thursday morning at 10:18 a.m. as students from Holly Hill Elementary practiced for an earthquake at the South Carolina State Museum along with 310,000 South Carolinians across the state participating in the largest safety drill ever held; The Great Southeast Shakeout.

The students learned the steps to take if the ground ever starts to shake.

"Okay everybody, now that the siren is going off, what is the first thing we want to do? We want to drop...," said Justin Kier of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.

After dropping to the ground, the students were instructed to cover their heads and protect it as much as possible. Finally, officials from the SCEMD say to hold onto that position for at least sixty seconds, or until the shaking stops.

"We have ten to twenty earthquakes per year here in South Carolina. A lot of them very small, a lot of them many of us don't feel, but it's that big one that we have to prepare for and the after shocks involved," said Kier.

The last big earthquake in South Carolina was in Charleston in 1886. It registered 7.3 on the Richter Scale.

An earthquake of that magnitude today would do billions of dollars of damage.

"Earthquakes, those aren't predictable. It could happen five seconds from now, or 500 years from now," said Kier.

South Carolina has seen five small earthquakes so far this year.

So when the ground starts to shake, drop, cover and hold on.